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10 Stories to Check Out This Week

The Illinois budget deadline approaches, cyclists love the 606, and Theaster Gates faces criticism.

Spencer Leak Sr., owner of Leaks and Sons Funeral Home   Photo: Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune

1. In Chicago, an Undertaker Tries to Save Teens from the Streets—and Is Burying Those He Can’t

80-year-old Spencer Leak Sr. buries two or three homicide victims a week, and doesn’t turn anyone away. Yahoo News visits his South Side funeral home.

2. Take These Students, Please

Last-resort, online-learning high schools are expanding across the country, and Chicago is a hub. Slate spends time at Magic Johnson Bridgescape on the city’s West Side.

3. Why Illinois Is Closing In on 700 Days Without a Budget

And why getting one by Wednesday is possible, but also impossible to predict. Chicago magazine looks back.

4. Cracks in the Foundation

Theaster Gates’s Rebuild Foundation has been lauded internationally. But there’s tension within about whether it’s fulfilling its goals on the South Side. South Side Weekly goes inside.

5. What Happens When Two Suburban Lawmakers Defy Rauner, Madigan

It’s possible—but there’s no money in it. The Daily Herald profiles David McSweeney and Scott Drury.

6. The Poop Scoop on Festival Season

With outdoor shows thriving, an industry that once focused on a handful of units at construction sites now roll out hundreds of them for concertgoers. The Reader gets the dirt from Service Sanitation.

7. Nonviolence Is a Choice: Group’s Message of Peace Seeks Footing in Tough Chicago Neighborhood

A former Israeli army soldier with a master’s from Harvard Divinity School is bringing his approach to one of the city’s most violent areas. The Tribune follows the employees of the Institute for Nonviolence on their mission.

8. Chicago’s Bloomingdale Trail Is One of Our Favorite Bike Paths, Anywhere

It brings curves to a gridded city, and brings people together. Bicycling rides the trail.

9. The Surprise in Chicago’s Latest Census Tally

The city is shrinking. And the loss is solely due to African Americans leaving. Crain’s runs the numbers.

10. What Would an Illinois Budget Look Like?

Spending will go down. Taxes will go up. The devil is in the details. Chicago magazine breaks it down.

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